If you’ve been doing this creative entrepreneur thing for a while (and honestly, even if you haven’t), you’ve probably heard that you need to have your own website. I’m here to tell you that, yes, it’s true.
On your own site, you get complete control over your brand and how your work is presented. You can post original content and freely ask people to subscribe to your newsletter. And, if you decide to sell your work through your own website, you have complete control over how you’re paid, without giving a sales cut to a third-party vendor.
Unfortunately, many artists — discouraged by poor sales — wonder what’s wrong with their website.
They spend hours adding pages, tweaking their writing, or sometimes completely redesigning their sites… but never identify the underlying problem!
Are you having “issues” with your website? Let’s fix them!
Which one of these situations sounds like yours?
1) “I keep working on my website to make it more attractive and enticing, but people just don’t seem to visit very much… what’s the point?”
2) “People sometimes visit my website… but I’m not getting any sales!”
3) “I get a lot of traffic, but people don’t hang out very long and I’m not selling anything. This website just isn’t working out for me — people don’t seem to like it much.”
Before we tackle each of these situations… have you looked at your site data? (If you don’t have Google Analytics set up to track how many visitors you get, where they’re coming from, which pages they visit, and how long they hang out — go do that right after finishing this article!)
To successfully market yourself as a creative artrepreneur (and you ARE in the business of making and selling creative works, right?) you need to understand and utilize your data. You can’t fix your strategy if you don’t know what is and isn’t working!
Did you know that only a tiny percentage of your visitors (just 0.5–2%!) become paying clients? That’s just not very many, so it’s important to make the most of every visitor you have.
Now, let’s talk about each of the problems above and how to solve it.
1) You’re not getting any visitors to your site
In this situation, not enough people are aware of you and the amazing stuff you create. Instead of relying on Google to display your site in someone’s search results, you need to work on growing your audience.
Not sure how to do that? Check out last month’s blog series about the different methods you can employ to grow your network of fans and potential clients — both on and offline! (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
2) You get traffic, but no sales
Did you know that most people need exposure to a product or idea at least six times before they’ll make a purchase?
If good traffic but no sales is the issue, either your visitors haven’t been exposed enough to your work, or it’s just too difficult for them to make a purchase.
Give your fans a reason to regularly check in! Think about creating a blog or vlog and posting quality content on a regular basis. Make sure you’re using clear calls to action in your newsletter and social media posts. Let your followers know there’s exciting stuff on your site and that you want them to visit!
Also make it obvious that your work can be purchased and give details about how to start the buying process, whether that’s contacting you, visiting an online shop, contacting a gallery, etc. If an interested client can’t find answers quickly, they won’t keep searching — don’t make them jump through hoops!
On this note, you might enjoy reading my related article "You only need 3 things to make a living selling your art"
3) You get plenty of traffic and some sales, but not as many as you’d like
So you’re getting visitors to your site… but they’re still not taking that next step. Remember my spiel about Google Analytics? This is where having that information is very helpful… it can tell you where your visitors are coming from, what pages they’re reading, how long they’re staying, and when they’re leaving.
Analyzing this data can tell you a lot about how user-friendly and optimized your site really is. Are you using sharp, well-lit images that compliment your artwork? How quickly does your site load? Are your menus and site structure easy to understand? Are there appropriate CTAs in place, and have you designed each page with a clear idea of what you want your visitor to do next?
Also make sure you’re communicating your personality and brand values effectively. High traffic but no sales often means your visitors aren’t making an emotional connection to you and your work.
While you’re in evaluation mode, try asking a few people who are new to your website if you can watch while they interact with your pages and content. This is a great way to get candid feedback about your site and discover what’s working and what’s not.
Did you notice what I didn’t say was a problem? Your website platform! Many artists think their issues will magically go away if they move from one type of website (like Wordpress) to another (like Squarespace).
If you’re thinking about making a switch, you probably don’t need to. Growing your audience, posting interesting content that is aligned with your brand, and making your website user-friendly rarely depends on the platform you’re using. So don’t waste time designing a brand new website – focus on your marketing strategy instead.
Which of these website issues are you struggling with? Let me know in the comments!
Want to grow your creative business + career but feel stuck and overwhelmed? Then I've got exactly what you need! Download your free "5 Steps to Growing Your Art Business + Career Blueprint" and get the simple yet effective approach I teach my clients who want to build personally fulfilling and financially successful businesses with marketing, PR, and sales strategies that work. Or, connect with over 18,000 other artist entrepreneurs at The Artist Entrepreneur Network and find the support + community you need!